FCC Approves Comcast/NBC Deal

It’s time to break out your favorite wedding clothes. The FCC has given its blessing to the marriage of Comcast — the reigning Worst Company In America — and NBC Universal.

As predicted, the result of the FCC’s vote was 4-to-1 in favor of the deal, with senior commissioner Michael J. Copps the lone dissenting vote.

In a statement, Copps wrote that the merger “reaches into virtually every corner of our media and digital landscapes and will affect every citizen in the land… All the majority’s efforts — diligent though they were — to ameliorate these harms cannot mask the truth that this Comcast-NBCU joint venture grievously fails the public interest.”

FCC chair Julius Genachowski threw his support behind the deal shortly before Christmas. He says the deal will contribute $20 million in venture funds for minority programs and $9.95 broadband Internet service for low-income households.

The only hurdle left to holy matrimony is the Justice Department, though that agency is expected to announce its own conditional approval of the deal.

FCC approves Comcast and NBC joint venture [Washington Post]

Comments

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  1. Arctic Snowbot says:

    We’re all F’ed.

    • c!tizen says:

      They still need the justice departments blessing before it can go through… a small glimmer of hope, but hope nonetheless.

      • nbs2 says:

        The problem is that the deal doesn’t seem to post any major antitrust issues, especially in comparison to other deals that have been approved. The bigger hurdle for Comcast was getting through the FCC review, which tends to lean more subjective on the question of “will it be good for the public?”. Of course, I think they got it wrong here.

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        Sorry. Game over, DOJ has approved the unholy union. Would you like your Ano-Lube now?

  2. Robofish says:

    greeeeeeaaaaaat……

  3. Darrone says:

    Everyone, quick, take your suicide pills.

  4. Iroc says:

    Wow
    Govt Officials ignoring the public will.
    Who would have thought.

  5. AngryK9 says:

    The result on the consumer end of the spectrum: A lot of people will complain, but only one out of 10,000 will make any kind of effort to do something more than complain.

  6. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    So, is this what the beginning of the end looks like?

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      It does seem like a sign of the Apocalypse. But then I thought texting and netspeak was a sign of the apocalypse too.

  7. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I guess I know what Howard Stern is going to talk about on tomorrow’s show.

    • YokoOhNo says:

      jay leno, american idol, dancing with the stars…?

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        He went on a tirade about how long the Sirius/XM merger* took during FCC review (which, of course, he insinuated was all about him) and how it was completely uncalled for. Gotta say my favorite moments on the show are when he throws a tantrum.

        But, yes, those topics too.

        * The similarities are more interesting than the differences: The satellite radio merger turned out to be very anti-consumer. Shocker I know.

  8. Marlin says:

    How much you wanna bet that $9.95 internet will never be posted and all employees will have little to no idea what you are talking about if asked.

    I think some DSL, ATT?, have rates/service like that but very few know about it.

    • Larraque eats babies says:

      56kbps downstream and 24kbps up!

      Also an additional $10 a month to rent the modem, or a $5 a month fee to allow your purchased modem to use their network.

  9. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Kudos to senior commissioner Michael J. Copps! Too bad the rest of the commission is on the take.

    Next up: The vote to eliminate and / or curtail free broadcast TV!

  10. YokoOhNo says:

    Finally, a government agency that sees the benefit to a pseudo-free market.

    I think the only question here is which “commissar” was bribed with the most money!

    i really thinnk our government is more fascist than capitalistic.

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      I don’t know that I’d label it fascist quite yet, but it definitely based on disaster capitalism and laissez faire capitalism. I’d prefer our government not reach the fascist stage.

  11. coren says:

    oh wow, 20 million, that’s so much for them. I sure am glad they’re making such huge concessions, in areas that really are going to affect how they do business, and aren’t just tossing some paltry donation to quiet some yapping dogs.

  12. Nick1693 says:

    They’re not wedding clothes, it’s for a funeral in Korea.

    (+1 to those who get it.)

  13. Gman says:

    So now in the next few months look for a lot of talent shuffling. Both voluntarily leaving and fired.

  14. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Hooray Corporate-funded government! Yay!

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      Well, corporate-funded bureaucrats anyway. Funding of the government proper is kept at a minimum thanks to tax havens and loopholes.

    • jesusofcool says:

      This should be a mandatory case-study in American citizenship class to exemplify why everything citizen-responsive government is a fairy tale.

  15. macoan says:

    $9.95 broadband internet service for low-income households.

    Oh, you own a computer – well you are not low-income enough. Only households with no computers to use the service can qualify for that package.

  16. jrwn says:

    I’m guessing that Cox will match the 9.95 plan??

  17. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    Okay, I’m sure someone will say this is all Obamas fault – and not only will I beat you to the punch, but in this case I have to agree. Julius Genachowski is an industry hack appointed by Obama. If Obama gave a crap about consumers, he would never have been appointed. Most of the others on the commission are from the same mold. Julius almost immediantly appointed Benjamin Stuart as “Scholar in Residence” a position Julius MADE UP, as the commission never needed one before. Stuart is the FCC’s “Broadcast TV hitman” assigned to the job of making Free TV “go awaY, so we all have to pay for TV. Read on:
    http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/439843-FCC_Spectrum_Scholar_Takes_Dead_Aim_At_Broadcasters.php
    Here’s more of Stuarts propaganda here: http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2588&context=faculty_scholarship

    • YokoOhNo says:

      Yes, it’s only since Obama got elected that I’ve seen this shift to a corporate owned government. i’m wishing for the day the anti-corporate republicans from the early 2000’s get back in office!

      • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

        I’m usually the first one to jump up and point out what you did. Exactly. But in this SPECIFIC case, yea, he has his hands dirty here. He made the appointment of a crony well known to be a corporate shill.

        I’ll not argue who is worse, or who started it. In this case, the buck stops at Obama.

        And if you think your cable / internet bill is high now, just wait until the FCC succeeds in killing free OTA TV – there will be little or no competition for our new Kable Overlords.

      • Gandalf the Grey says:

        He never said republicans were better, he simply called out the president for appointing someone who is more for the industry than for the people. In case you have forgotten your civics lessons from high school, the appointees are supposed to watch out for the good of the public.

        What’s your issue the past few days? You seem to take offense to almost any comment. John leave you and decide to go play with George and the boys again instead?

      • sufreak says:

        I don’t think he’s saying company owned government is new and Obama’s fault. Just this particular instance. To be fair, McCain is so far in Comcast’s pocket that this would have happened sooner with him.

        • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

          To be fair, McCain is so far in Comcast’s pocket that this would have happened sooner with him.

          Quite possibly.

          My concern now is that the FCC is pushing all this shit through very fast because they know that if there is a change of the guard, (very likely) they’ll be out, and another bunch of cronies wil re-write their proposals to benefit those that paid to get them in.

    • ARP says:

      I don’t understand, Obama hates business and is a socialist. Beck told me so. That doesn’t sound like a socialist appointment. I’m confused.

  18. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I, for one, welcome our new cable overlords.

    Kapla!

  19. YokoOhNo says:

    I fairness to the Esteemed Commissioners, I believe they listened to both sides…Comcast’s and NBC’s.

  20. u1itn0w2day says:

    My guess here is one these companies is financial doo doo along with being greedy and arrogant enough to have even asked they be allowed to start building their monopoly.

    The anti Fox with the correct politics gets federal government approval. And the surprise here is?

  21. ALP5050 says:

    Good now they can trash MSNBC’s horrible low rating primetime line up.

  22. Reading_Comprehension says:

    But they’re from Philadelphia!

  23. Kibit says:

    I don’t know all of the ins and outs of a company being a monopoly, but would this qualify?

  24. oldwiz65 says:

    Why is anyone even remotely surprised? NBC and Comcast slipped enough money to the FCC and DOJ and Congress to make sure it gets approved with “conditions” that NBC/comcast will simply ignore Once again, bribes from business trump the best interest of consumers and citizens.

  25. Larraque eats babies says:

    Dear Comcast Univeral: Bring Back Stargate Universe. Also, renew Chuck and Community. Thanks!

  26. INsano says:

    $9.95 for low income households huh? With 20% abject poverty in this country of ours and 20% real unemployment…I wonder where they’ll make their greens? Hope the Comcasters are ready for some price increases!

  27. sugarplum says:

    Cable providers shouldn’t be able to own major content networks. Also. NBC uses the ‘free’ spectrum, no? You can still get it over the airwaves so this really gnaws at me that Comcastic will own it.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Not to worry, Sugarplum. The FCC is working hard to take away the airwaves from broadcasters, and sell the “publicly owned” spectrum to the highest bidders (Comcast, Verizon, etc). The vote will come in the next few days. Any wagers on which way that vote will go?

      But, fear not. I’m sure they’ll leave enough spectrum for PBS to continue to broadcast old BBC sitcom reruns like “Are you being served?” until PBS quietly dies due to lack of funding for original programs.

      Nice hair color, BTW, and how’s your pussy?

  28. momtimestwo says:

    I have had comcast internet and Tv since they were “@home”, and I swear I have never had a problem with any part of them. I’ve had their phone service for a few years and never had a problem with that. Other then my husband having to haggle with them once a year when they want to raise rates, we are happy with Comcast. As for NBC, I like Dateline and all of the Law and Orders.

    I don’t understand how this merger “grievously fails the public interest”. You don’t have to watch NBC and use Comcast.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      “I don’t understand how this merger “grievously fails the public interest”. “
      Then you have a serious hearing problem, or have lived in a cave and don’t know the issues.

      “You don’t have to watch NBC and use Comcast.”

      No, Not yet.

    • theduckay says:

      You don’t see anything wrong with a cable provider and a content provider being the same company, or how that continues to eliminate competition and content choices from providers other than NBC?

      “You don’t have to watch NBC and use Comcast.” As Cheap said, not yet. Thats the whole point. And also, a lot of us do have to use Comcast, as there is no other option. If you’ve never had any problems with Comcast, consider yourself one of the lucky few.

  29. DerangedKitsune says:

    “…the deal will contribute $20 million in venture funds for minority programs and $9.95 broadband Internet service for low-income households”

    *cough*bullshit*cough*

    As soon as the merger is done, a “new” assessment of this proposal will come out saying that it’s not economically feasible to implement what with the costs associate with restructuring the new behemoth conglomerate, or something else that lets them back out.

    • catnapped says:

      No, I think they’ll provide it…coupled with a ton of fees and ridiculously low caps with huge overage fees.

  30. MrRichPeoples says:

    How soon until Verzion and ABC/Disney merge?

  31. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    From http://dtvusaforum.com:
    In a last minute letter by Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota, Maria Cantwell of Washington and Tim Johnson of South Dakota, some of the concerns were emphasized and the senators urged the FCC to strengthen the conditions of the merger.

    Copps also expressed concern about the merger affecting the future of over the air television. He stated, “There are many other facets of the joint venture that trouble me. I worry, forexample, about the future of our public broadcast stations. Comcast-NBCU has committed to carry the signals of any of those stations that agree to relinquish the spectrum they are presently using. Will public television no longer be available to over the air viewers? And, what happens when the duration of this commitment has run its course? Might the public station be dropped to make room for yet more infotainment programming? In too many communities, the public television station is the last locally owned and operated media outlet left. Public television is miles ahead of everyone else in making productive, public interest use of the digital multi-cast spectrum licensed to it. Why in the world would we gamble with its future?”

    The long awaited decision from the FCC is one of the final steps before the merger is complete. With this decision, the nation’s largest cable operator has now been allowed to gain control of the broadcast, satellite, and other radio licenses of NBC Universal, Inc., which was previously under the control of General Electric Corporation.

    Comcast’s acquisition of NBCU comes with several conditions including a guarantee of access to NBCU programming by Comcast’s rivals, online video and net neutrality conditions. Comcast has also agreed to promote broadband adoption by extending its plant by 1,500 miles per year, expanding service in rural areas and providing low cost internet service to certain low income families.

    The final decision is now in the hands the DOJ who is expected to quickly approve, with conditions to prevent anticompetitive behavior by the new entity.

    UPDATE: The DOJ has now approved the merger, with conditions, including specific mention of Hulu and other online video properties.

  32. mikedt says:

    How many mergers has our government turned down in the last 2 decades? The only one that comes to mind is Whole Foods and some other organic food store I can’t even name – that’s how competitive and vital they were.

    What does it take before they believe competition or inovation will be stifled? No money in their campaign chest?

    • DerangedKitsune says:

      Pretty much.

      In this world no one, and I mean NO ONE, gives a damn about anything unless it affects their bottom line.

  33. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    It’s official. The GateKeeper and the KeyMaster are one. Welcome to the ZUUL Nework.
    http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2011/January/11-at-061.html

  34. goldenargo85 says:

    Were skrewed. Goodbye free internet… I thought we would have at least untill 2012….

  35. Kibit says:

    Now if they could get their website to work properly. Ever since they changed their website I have had so many issues making payments!

  36. davidsco says:

    Of COURSE they did, and were well paid for it, I’m sure

  37. stevenpdx says:

    I welcome our new Comcast overlords.

  38. Woodside Park Bob says:

    So…. the FCC sold out the public for “$20 million in venture funds for minority programs and $9.95 broadband Internet service for low-income households.” The public interest sure went cheap.

    Congress needs to act to put a stop to this.

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      Congress… Act…
      Congress… Act…

      I find it impossible to use those two words in the same sentence, unless I include qualifiers like “Stupid”, “Badly” or “Retarded”.

      Excuse me, this makes me ill. I have to go puke now.

  39. Spooky says:

    Fuck you FCC!

  40. TPA says:

    RIP Net Neutrality
    RIP Netflix
    RIP lower prices..

    To anyone who voted FOR this, I’ll be looking to vote you OUT of office come election time. And I DO vote.

  41. Cetan says:

    As much as I hate this, and I hate Comcast… they’re Northern Utah’s only broadband provider at the moment.

    And I *NEED* to play WoW!

    • Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

      There’s other players in Northern Utah broadband, but they include Qwest, whom I despise even more than Comtrash, and some other wireless providers who range from bad to good. Too bad they all get eaten up by Digis – and then they clamp down on you with their medieval bandwidth throttling.

  42. wryknow says:

    g*damn it. I’m not surprised i guess, but I am thoroughly disappointed and very upset. gesh. can we have just 1 area of government that actually works for the people and not the corporation?

  43. TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

    Another sad day in the history of the United States…